Private funding of public services is bankrupting the UK


#1

[Read the post]


#2

I thought that was the plan.


#3

No one loves a bit of Tory bashing more than I do, but one has to be fair, and it seems that PFI funding the NHS was actually instigated and pursued most vigorously by the Blair government - specifically, Ed Balls and Gordon Brown while Brown was chancellor - and that it’s those contracts which now account for much of the NHS’ deficit.

This site has a lot of good info:

http://www.dropnhsdebt.org.uk/history-of-pfi/

Of course, it’s entirely possible I’m wrong, or misinformed.


#4

Not sure how things work in the UK in this regard, but how much of that is a matter of “We’re the actually party that actually wants to make the NHS work at all, and this looks like something our opponents won’t be able to denounce quite as loudly, so let’s do it that way”?


#5

Sadly this is just standard Privatisation technique as waged on the UK since the early 80’s

-defund through funding cuts
-defund through costly outsourcing
-break through damaging reforms
-when it inevitably all starts falling over, proclaim that the public sector has failed and privatisation is the only option
-profit (if you’re a shareholder)


#6

I think you’ve got the word “fund” backwards. The government is funding the services. The corporations are providing them.

I recently moved from Pennsylvania, where privatization is doctrine. Even your driver’s license is provided by a for-profit office, after you get your photo from another for-profit office. Really.

You see, government is lazy because it has no competition. Corporations are competitive, except when they get crony monopolistic deals, which is always. Then they are lazy too. Cf: Comcast, Time-Warner Cable.


#7

I guess that’s why 'Mercan health care is cheapest in the world, eh.


#8

This is pretty much what “Private Eye” has been saying since, oh, the days of Blair and Brown; I don’t think you’re misinformed at all.


#9

PFI was a John Major government era idea which amongst others Harriet Harman and Alistair Darling (future Chancellor) denounced in Opposition, claiming that it amounted to privatisation and placed a massive burden on future taxpayers.

As soon as Labour got into power they changed their tune on it (as with so much) when the Treasury pointed out they could announce all sorts of massive spending plans which didn’t actually appear on the government’s books. The fact that these contracts were hideously poor value with astronomical interest rates and total repayments many times the capital value (of an order of 4 times the value of the project) were all known to New Labour - but they pressed on, blackmailing health and local education authorities to accept PFI or get nothing.

In the NHS the process of bankrupting the health service was driven by Alan Milburn who left government to make a fortune with Bridgeport Capital who are one of the largest private companies bleeding the NHS dry.


#10

Sigh. I know Cory hates all Tories, but it’s really annoying when he lays stuff on them that’s totally not their fault. The explosion in NHS PFI deals took place under Labour, as a means of building stuff without having the cost appear in public sector borrowing figures. Worked great for them at the time, with lots of shiny new hospitals to open, many in marginal constituencies. It was Conservative MPs who repeatedly raised concerns about their “off-balance sheet” costs stretching into the future and the current Conservatives government has a) massively clamped down on their use and b) is trying to find the money to pay them back where it can. This isn’t the fault of the private sector, it’s the fault of the public sector for signing terrible deals, and the Labour politicians who forced them down that route for political ends. But, yeah, let’s blame the Tories…


#11

Tony Blair was a Tory?


#12

I like the public sector. A lot of the time I don’t mind the private sector. But when the public and the private sector cooperate all hell breaks loose. The private sector things the public sector is a bottomless well of money, and for some reason, when they deal with the private sector, the public sector wants to live up to this image.


#13

You have seen the pic illustrating the story?


#14

I had not, actually.


#15

That is my personal conspiracy theory.


#16

Where the hell is that guillotine gif??


#17

the guillotine has a new job and is not available anymore for giffing around


#18

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